More images from TLB above the usual Kamahi Beach as at 10 August 2012
(Below – pumice raft in the backwater at Kamahi – there are often slips in the upper river which result in pumice rafts floating down river. DO not try to walk on these – they are a trap. The pumice in the foreground is on the beach but at the back it is floating over a 4 m deep hole.)
(Image above of Kakahi Pool taken 11 January 2012 looking down river from TLB – take track from the Admirals car park.)
Rating (out of 20) 13,
(Rating reduced from 14 for review in 2011 – note this pool contour keeps shifting with each now fresh. It is still settling after the big January 2011 flood – over 650 m3/s. Wading to cast into the lie has suffered. Still a good pool if not disturbed and worth the walk for the scenery alone.)
(Kamahi Pool Google aerial photo )
March 2008 – (Following obsolete but retained for historic interest only)
Note: The Genesis Energy proposal to close the Poutu Canal for the first four months of 2008 (which was cancelled after January) is now back on track. The Poutu Canal is closed as it is subject to Genesis’ maintenance programme for the next few months. This means that for the first time in over 40 years the Tongariro River is running at natural levels – with no water being drawn off for hydro power purposes.
As such, the Tongariro River is running higher than you may be used to and all anglers are warned to be more careful at crossing and wading.
22 April 2008 Update: The lood on 15 April 2008 rose to over 500 cumecs and will have affected many of the pools and river crossings. So take care!
2008 Update: (New fishos should read the 11 December 2007 Pool of the Month Report below)
The Kamahi Pool is one of the most beautiful and reliable pools on the Tongariro River. The pleasant walk up river via the anglers access to emerge through the native bush on the river is a special treat – a delight that makes the trip worthwhile on its own. Any fish caught are a bonus.
Photo on right is Boyd Piehenga, Kiwi now living in Germany. He is better known to mountain bikers. This was his first time fly fishing the Tongariro so he understandably dropped the first few before struggling to land this monster steelhead rainbow in Kamahi Pool on 8 March. I am sure they could hear whoops of unrestrained joy from Turangi. You can see the effort exhausted him.
So what else might anglers need to know?
This pool is the first main pool upriver from the more popular “town pools” and therefore does not suffer from usual excessive angler pressures. But if the pool is already occupied there are several other options – see Access.
When southerly winds make casting difficult this pool is often a haven, being just around the corner providing good shelter – applies particularly for right handed anglers. Guides regularly take clients to this pool as casting is easy – plenty of back cast room. Wading is easy – shallow current is slow, no usual cannon ball boulders, no snags.
The deep lies change regularly as the pool contour has altered each year since 2005.
There are two popular choices – either at the drop off at the head of the pool as it tumbles down from Admirals run above, or wade in a wide loop to the right to work your way along the depths below the bank on the LHS.
From the Koura Street swing bridge, take the walking track up RHS (via left past the Hydro Pool and across Mangamawhitiwhiti footbridge) and take the first “Anglers Access” track to the right. The pleasant walk takes about 25 minutes.
We try to encourage tourist/anglers on this track to enjoy some of the last remnants of native bush – mainly ferns and Manuka rapidly being smothered by blackberry – and to hear what is left of the morning chorus from Tuis and Bellbirds on the Anglers Access side track heading down to Kamahi.
Bird life here extends on to the river where ducks antics help to fill in the attention gaps between casts.
If other anglers have beaten you to the Kamahi Pool there are still plenty of options. These include:
1 – Admirals Pool further up river, via side tracks off Anglers Access,
2 – Cicada Pool beyond 1 up river across the stones under the cliffs,
3 – Neverfail Pool on the RHS -wading across the shallow tail of Kamahi to the island (but always check out the LHS run as well),
4 – Stag and Cattle Rustlers Pools by continuing upriver on the main track further south for keen anglers.
(This is where you should be on a winter weekend. Left photo at Kamahi Pool, 14 July 2007)
The same fly fishing methods apply here as on other main pools – during winter runs there is the usual choice of wet lining with most popular “flies” being woolly buggers, rabbit patterns or red setters – only if you are over 65. Nymphers need plenty of weight to get to the bottom with either hare & copper or pheasant tail nymphs. If the river carries a lot of colour then the you cannot go past a glo bug. Drop down to smaller sizes in summer This is a good pool for dry fly deer’s hair caddis styles for evening rises in early summer or try cicada patterns with a small dropper in late summer.
If the main pools are occupied, have a flick in the flat water between the rapids tubling down from Admirals Pool. You might be surprised how many hide there.
Whatever method you prefer, just suck in nature’s wonderful surroundings and enjoy.
Kamahi Pool Angler profile
Our favourite true fishy story is an English angler, Chris Williams, who only had one morning to try out his Hardy’s 5 weight on the Tongariro in March 2006 – he was saving his allocated fishing time for brown trout in the South Island! So to give him a better chance away from the rabble in the town pools, we pointed him towards Kamahi. He returned mid morning lugging the brown trout pictured. He hooked it at the head of the pool with his second cast. After 35 minutes he still could not land it. Each time it touched the stones it swam off again to the depths of the pool. Finally he spied the circle of stones created by anglers to keep their catch fresh. He removed the stones on the river side and led the big hog into the trap and kicked the stones back.
He smoked the fish whole and sent it back to UK as otherwise no-one would have believed him.
Guests letter dated 19 March 2006 x UK
Hi, Ross and Pip, Just returned to a miserably cold winter, with very fond memories of NZ. Many thanks for your hopitality, and for your help in making this such an enjoyable and successful visit to the Taupo fishery….. My experience of fishing NZ suggests they were not kidding when I was told South Islanders head for Taupo for their serious fishing.
Following is Daily report of 11 December 2007:
POOL OF THE MONTH:
TRM anglers advise what they particularly like about Kamahi is the pleasant walk to get there and the natural beauty and variety of spots available. It does not even matter if some other earlier riser got there first – i.e.1 Arrive at the end of the track and the river view leaps out at you from the cool native bush environment towards a big deep long classic pool which always smells so fishy. Possibly the most picturesque spot on the river? Approach the foreground pool off the point quietly as often you can see the trout resting in the gut. These are usually shy – resting instead of feeding – but most anglers cannot resist having a flick anyway. But this is just for starters at Kamahi – do not be concerned if your fly is ignored as there are other better lies available for the main course.2 Wade towards the tail and follow a big anti-clockwise loop around Pool 1 to work your way up the pool about two-thirds of the way across. The water is usually gin clear and waist deep wading is quite safe if a bit stony in places. Wade up along the boulder bank about crutch to belly deep until you can just reach with your best cast into the tail of the bubbly main flow on the right and you will notice another deep pool at the end of the bubbles – the feed line. Usually you should spy some tails moving ahead of you. This is the best most reliable lie. After covering the water across to the true LHS bank – to your right, – cast a few more to the left back achieving a different drift through Pool 1, which should have had a rest by then.
3 Drop back down river to where the river widens and shallows out to where there is another lie to the right (i.e. on the true left) under the bank. This too is better than Pool 1 and usually fish can be seem scooting away from your indicator up to Pool 2.
4 After you have given them a good fright, some will have panicked and moved up to find refuge unseen in the tail of the swirly rapids extending down from Admirals. Particularly after others have been fishing through 1, 2, & 3 above, this is a gogd 4th option and can be the most productive – see photo above left.
If all above pools are already occupied there are still other good options:
5 Follow the riffles down river across to the island and fish (5a) the Neverfail Pool on RHS or (5b) below the gravel bank below the island on the LHS – room for 2 or 3 rods. From there you can wade upriver and across (wading poles recommended) to the end of the track on the true LHS and return via the Hydro Pool.
6 Return back up the track and take the first side track to the old river bed and move up river to Admirals Pool – room for 2 rods.
7 If Admirals is also occupied then continue up river to the Cicada Pool under the pumice cliff with room for 2 rods – (7a) one off the point and (7b) under the cliff. If you have still not hooked up after trying all these, then invest in a guide or perhaps try golf.
NOTE: Pool Reports for the Tongariro River are prepared from guest/anglers experiences. As such, Tongariro River Motel do not accept any responsibility for the opinions of other anglers who are traditionally acknowledged liars about their best fishing pool.